Written by Esther Hylden
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
Bethel Free Lutheran WMF, Grafton, North Dakota, hosted a “Done with Chemo Party” last Thursday for two dear ladies, Carol Hensrud and Maxine Larson. In the early autumn days of 2013, both were diagnosed with cancer, and faced a long winter filled with chemotherapy. Their church and WMF friends watched as their faces grew pale, their hair thinned and fatigue became the way that they started every day. We sent cards, called with words of encouragement, offered rides…but felt helpless as we watched our dear friends struggle with yet another round of chemo. How many weeks left, we would ask? Eleven more weeks, nine more weeks…then finally one more week! At last they were done, and we rejoiced! However…we wanted them to know just how much we loved them, and how happy we were that their chemo was completed. So, we decided to “shower them with love” at our May WMF meeting. The Fellowship Room was decorated with flowers and balloons. We brought cards and presents…and waited for them to walk through the door. “Surprise!” we yelled as they entered. “What is going on here,” they gasped as they looked around. “We are having a Done with Chemo Party,” we told them. The room was filled with laughter as they looked around in disbelief. WMF opened that evening with a rousing chorus of, Count your Blessings, Name them one by One. We looked at each other as we sang…and know that each was a blessing…and that friendship was a gift. As we studied God’s Word that night…each verse…each comment…was precious.
Carol Hensrud shared Isaiah 43:2 with us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” “Ladies,” she said, “notice that it says when you pass through the waters…not if.” “We have all been through hard times, be it chemo, the loss of a loved one, a job, trouble at home…but God is here with us…even in the hard times.” We nodded our heads in agreement …we had all been through hard times…and yes…God had been with us. We closed with this verse…a benediction…a prayer… “May the God of Hope full you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Romans 15:13